I have long advocated that the real test for any new market research method is how well it resonates with clients. Or, in somewhat more crass terms, how much clients are spending on it.
Inside Research maintains a number of indices that provide estimates of US revenues by method and the August issue reports on two of the hottest new methods: MROCs and mobile.
IR estimates 2011 revenues for MROCs at $152 million. If we assume total revenues for US MR to be around $8 billion (some argue it's much higher) then MROCs are accounting for just about 2% of the total. The companies making up the index are pretty much a who's who of providers in the MR space. Granted, there is some DIY and other uncounted revenue from other providers but that's probably true of the $8 billion base as well. You also could argue that as a percent of total qualitative it's much more impressive and I would agree with you. Where I would disagree is when you try to argue that it's a significant threat to online quant. Not any time soon.
Mobile revenues are lower still. While mobile revenues are expected to almost double in 2011 over 2010 they are still only projected to be just over $16 million. The caveat here is that these numbers are derived from reports for the overall online index and a good deal of what's happening in mobile is happening in small, focused agencies whose revenues will not be included in the $16M. So go ahead and double it.Still, the best you can say at this stage is dramatic growth from a very small base.